USDA home loans on hold due to government shutdown

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OZARK, Mo. -- The partial government shutdown is having a trickle-down effect for some in Ozarks. Home buyers who qualify for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans must delay or amend their borrowing plans.

"We've been contacted by a number of agents in our company that say, 'We have clients that are scheduled to close on Jan. 15, what do we do?''' Jim Bolin, a broker with Keller Williams, said.

Bolin says USDA loans cover those looking to buy in rural areas, provide 100 percent financing, great interest rates and are for low to middle-income families.

Tammie Tucker, broker salesperson with A.R. Wilson Realtors, says she had a client planning to close on a home using a USDA loan. That client had to quickly change their plan when the government shutdown.

"Thankfully my buyer was able to pay 3.5 percent down," Tucker said. "So we were able to switch her to an FHA product and then she could go ahead and move forward with closing her loan."

Both Bolin and Tucker say there are many options other than the USDA loan.

First, they suggest asking for a closing extension.

"Well, how long do we ask for an extension? Everybody's been watching the news -- we don't know how long to ask for an extension," Bolin said. "Most are going to the end of Feb."

If that is not an option, experts suggest changing the type of loan.

"There are other sources out there, (through the) Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) and rural development type loans you can get that are 100 percent but they are typically a little more expensive," Bolin said.

Tucker says one of her worries is that this shutdown may make buyers think twice about searching for their dream home.

"When you want to purchase a home you want to think great about your country," Tucker said. "And think good of about what your future holds."

Bolin and Tucker say USDA loan applications are also on hold. They are both hopeful the shutdown will end soon.